Singer, organizer inspires GFS students

By Michelle Sonsino
Posted 10/29/20

Vote for me until I can. Those were the words LaTosha Brown, award-winning organizer, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, and jazz singer, shared with middle and upper school students at …

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Singer, organizer inspires GFS students

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Vote for me until I can. Those were the words LaTosha Brown, award-winning organizer, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, and jazz singer, shared with middle and upper school students at Germantown Friends School on Thursday, October 22, encouraging young people to ask older generations to consider their voices and causes until they are able to vote for themselves.

Brown, who spoke passionately about the role of women and people of color in politics—and how young people can influence change and encourage voting—was a timely speaker for this year's Mercer Tate ’48 Lecture for Public Service, which was led by student moderators, including Sona Wink ’21, India Valdivia ’21, Faruq Adger ’21, Ryan Lewis ’21, Martina Kiewek ’22, Olivia Fisher ’25, Lani Okewole ’25, and Rachel Cornejo ’27.

Reflections about the radical reimagining of our nation inspired students to question how to create change, even when most of them are too young to vote. Brown shared many ideas for youth engagement: joining youth-led organizations; talking to adults about issues impacting young people and their communities; continuing dialogues about democracy in school and with friends; listening to others with differing viewpoints; thinking creatively and with bold vision; and partnering and collaborating.

“You are never too young to organize,” she said.

Between powerful reflections, Brown shared her beautiful singing voice with the group, performing verses from “This Little Light of Mine,” a gospel song associated with freedom and the Civil Rights Movement. In response to a question from Anna Pendse ’25 about the connection between music and advocacy, Brown noted, “Music is an organizing tool. It connects human beings and taps into humanity and our collective power.”

Brown gave attendees a lot to think about, particularly at this moment in time.

“Close your eyes, what would America look like without racism?” she asked. “It is very hard; racism is such a part of the fabric of our country. What would America look like if she was a true democracy? What would you want the nation to look like?

“Even when I'm tired, even when I'm frustrated, I center myself in this concept that I absolutely love humanity. That is my inspiration.”

Michelle Sonsino is Director of Communications and Marketing at Germantown Friends School.

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